published Friday, August 17th, 2012

WTCI fundraiser offers steamboat tour, Civil War movie screening

Public television viewers will have the opportunity to support their local station, tour the largest steamboat ever built and watch a screening of the new documentary "Death and the Civil War" at an event Monday on the Tennessee River.

"History on the River," a fundraiser for WTCI aboard the American Queen, offers a meet-and-greet with "American Experience" producer Mark Samels and screening of the documentary, a tour of the recently refurbished steamboat and lunch.

The cost is $125 per person, $250 per couple.

"It's an opportunity for a tax-deductible gift and a fun experience," said Jennifer Crutchfield, director of public relations at WTCI.

The event, which is held in conjunction with PBS and the American Queen Steamboat Co., will be the only opportunity for the public to board the steamship. It also will be the only time viewers can see the new documentary before it airs on "American Experience" for the first time on Sept. 18.

In addition to a fundraiser, Crutchfield said, it also "is a celebration and a thank you for the people who have supported the station."

Reservations to attend the event must be made by the end of today. With their reservations, participants must furnish their number on a government-issued identification, such as a driver's license, and show that identification upon boarding. For reservations, call Debbie Thompson at 702-7814 or email dthompson

The metal-hulled American Queen, according to Crutchfield, was built in 1995 as a re-creation of wooden-hulled steamships such as the Delta Queen, which is docked at Chattanooga's riverfront.

The newer steamship's cruise, which began in New Orleans and ended in Chattanooga, was its first since being refurbished.

The 13-day, Civil War-themed cruise not only included Samels but also director Ric Burns, the world premiere viewing of "Death and the Civil War," Civil War historians and re-enactors, and stops at Civil War sites.

Another sold-out Civil War cruise begins in Chattanooga on Tuesday and returns to New Orleans, Crutchfield said.

In addition, she said, the steamship company will offer a political-themed cruise in 2013, featuring moderator and managing editor of "Washington Week" and senior correspondent for the "PBS NewsHour" Gwen Ifill, that comes to Chattanooga.

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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